The lower back is the linchpin in heavy lower-body movements.
One look at the spinal erector development of Olympic weightlifters tells us how incredibly strong these muscles need to be to squat or pull multiple times your body weight off the floor.
A weak lower back is a common reason why a maximal Squat or Deadlift attempt is missed.
By fixing this limiting factor, you’ll secure a much stronger position in the hardest part of both lifts (which is typically off the floor in the Sumo or Trap Bar Deadlift and coming out of the hole in the Squat) which will lead to new personal bests.
One of the best exercises for developing spinal erectors of steel is the Snatch Grip Podium Deadlift (or Wide-Grip Deficit Deadlift) performed with a prolonged eccentric.
By forcing you to pull with a wide grip from a deficit and to also control the eccentric portion of the movement, your spinal erectors will be trained in a totally different way.
How to Snatch Grip Podium Deadlift
- Start with no more than 50% of your one-rep Deadlift max.
- Stand on top of a sturdy, elevated surface. Regular weight plates or an aerobic stepper work well here.
- Grab the barbell with a wide grip like you would for a Barbell Snatch.
- With your chest up, lower back neutral and shins close to vertical, push your feet through the ground and stand up.
- Take 4-5 seconds to lower the bar down with control.
- Reset your position after each rep.
- We’re not looking for grip strength to be the limiting factor here, so use straps if you find your grip becoming an issue.
- Be sure to breathe! You can take a breath at both the top and the bottom of the movement, if needed.
Recommended Sets/Reps: 3-4×5
You will need a decent amount of hip and ankle mobility to pull off a deficit.
I have seen 3 or even 4 inches recommended for this exercise, but many gym-goers don’t have the mobility (at least initially) to deadlift with pristine technique from this large of a deficit. If that’s you, then a moderate deficit of 1-1.5 inches will suit you better.
I recommend starting with no more than 50% of your regular (Conventional or Sumo) Deadlift one-rep max.
You’ll understand why the first time you try these. The controlled lowering will challenge your body in ways it’s not used to with regular Deadlift training, as most people simply drop the bar after each rep.
By the time you have completed three sets of Snatch Grip Podium Deadlifts, you’ll be walking around with a wicked erector pump you’ve likely never felt before.
Your poundages will increase quickly as the erectors get stronger in this movement. In four weeks of training, you should be able to add tens of pounds to your work sets. When you do that, you will notice a solid carryover to heavy, low-rep Squats and Deadlifts—which should produce a new PR or two.
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